In 1979, when Iran detained American diplomats, which shocked the world, six American diplomats fled from Tehran under the nose of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) special agent in charge of camouflage technology, Tony Mandez, was assigned to plan and participate in the entire operation. Now, a full 30 years have passed, and he revealed to reporters the situation in those years.
Mandez, 70, who retired in 1990, and his wife, Jona, who also worked in camouflage at the CIA, both serve on the board of the International Spy Museum in Washington. One evening in August 1997, when Tony Mandez, 57, and his wife returned to their Maryland home, they found a letter stuck on the door
. ”Where did you come from?” the wife asked. ”Director of the CIA,” Mandez replied while looking at the letter, “It’s unexpected.” Mandez learned from the letter that on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the CIA’s founding, he would be awarded the “Vanguard” honorary award. He was so excited that he couldn’t sleep, and he stayed in the study and stared at the various medals that the CIA awarded him over the years. In the eyes of neighbors, Mandez is a refined retired government official and an art worker who has won a competition prize. And now, the CIA has finally lifted the veil on him, revealing the true identity of his secret agent for 25 years. Mandez picked up a bronze medal and recalled that intimidating January in 1980. In November 1979, in Tehran, the capital of Iran, more than 60 American diplomats were taken hostage at the occupied embassy. Meanwhile, six U.S. diplomats narrowly escaped the embassy and took refuge in the Canadian embassy in Iran.
In late December, the CIA’s head of Iran intelligence, Norbert Garrett, called Mandez on an emergency call. “The situation is very critical,” Calais said. Although the news of the six “guests” staying at the Canadian embassy has not been disclosed by the press for the time being, this situation may be exposed at any time. In that case, the six Americans and the Canadians who helped them hide would be in even more danger.
Mandez is the CIA’s master of camouflage techniques. In 1965, Mandez was a young designer and aspiring artist living in Denver. In order to earn money to support his family, he was sent to a CIA base in Asia after applying for a newspaper ad for “Navy” art workers to work overseas with good pay. There, he helped modernize the base’s camouflage laboratory with his artistic talents and practical skills. Camouflage technologists work to create fake latex noses, ears and even entire faces for CIA agents on espionage missions abroad.
In early 1979, after the shah of Iran had been deposed, Mandez had traveled to Tehran to rescue a lurking agent codenamed “Raptor.” Mandez disguised “Raptor” so that he looked exactly like the photo on the fake passport, and escorted him to the Mailabad International Airport in Tehran.
Now, the CIA has assigned Mandez to rescue six diplomats, but they are not agents and have not received escape training. The six diplomats are: consular officer, Robert Anders, 54, Mark Lijack, 29, Mark’s wife, Koala, 25, Agriculture Attaché, Henry Lee, 31 Shatz, Consul Joseph Stafford, 30, and his wife, Kathleen, 28. Except for the consul Stafford and his wife, who hid in the residence of Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran, the other four were hiding in the villa of a famous person in the suburbs. The U.S. embassy was considered a “spy den” at this time, and all hostages could only be released after they were formally identified as not being spies.
Mandez flew to Canada to discuss countermeasures with relevant parties. He studied many “legendary” operations to rescue diplomats, trying to find a method that would stand up to the scrutiny of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The State Department had wanted to treat them as American teachers looking for work in Iran, but Mandez dismissed the idea.
The “field team”
in Ottawa proposed that they be the Canadian nutritionists investigating the villages in Iran. But why choose to go to Iran in such a cold winter? It seems hard to hide. But Mandez is in favor of using Canadian passports and wants to find a reason to allow six so-called Canadians to enter Tehran.
Suddenly, Mandez thought of John Chambers, a Hollywood makeup guru who had helped him with makeup techniques. But how do you concoct a story about getting a team into Iran?
Mandez called Chambers and asked, “How many people are usually on the team for filming locations?”
”About six,” Chambers replied. road.
What a coincidence. Mandez pondered and took note of the positions proposed by Chambers: “Location manager, set designer, script writer, transportation manager…”
Mandez proposed a plan to dispatch a “movie crew” on the action plan , and suggested that the CIA “start” a film company. So, after the proposal was approved, he set up an office on the Columbia production company’s premises and decided to name the “film of the future” Argonaut. What’s the name of the film crew? “Let’s call it film crew 6,” Chambers said.
On January 6, 1980, Variety magazine and The Hollywood Reporter ran a full-page ad for the new film, “Argo,” which they said would start shooting in March. The news quickly became a topic of discussion in Beverly Hills.
The then Prime Minister of Canada, Joe Clark, quickly approved the directive to issue six Canadian passports. CIA technicians forged Iranian visas, and RCMP authorities produced driver’s licenses with fake names and fake addresses. Mandez’s team also prepared a number of “pockets” such as Canadian matchboxes, expired cheques and club membership cards.
The CIA’s technical room also produced the business card of the “6th Film Team”, and made up the selection and performance of the script of the film “Argo” and the director of the production. “It’s like a hodgepodge of Star Wars and One Thousand and One Nights.” Mandez explained his plan of action to his boss, sketching out sketches.
Tyler, Canada’s ambassador to Iran, was at his desk reading a top-secret cable from Ottawa. A telegram informed him that a CIA team would arrive in Tehran in a week. Therefore, according to the pre-planned date, on January 28, 1980, the famous person who had hidden the four Americans and his wife would leave the villa, leaving Ambassador Taylor’s assistant Roger Rousey with his American guests. together to coordinate actions.
On Jan. 23, Mandez sat at the CIA’s offices in Europe, awaiting final instructions from Washington on the action plan. Not long after, a telegram came: “The president has approved your action, and good luck.”
The next night, Mandez flew to Tehran with one of his assistants, Ed, as a European member of the camera crew. Ed pretends to be the finance manager of the film crew. A Canadian embassy guard drove them to the suburbs. There they met the six American diplomats. “Okay, guys,” Mandez said, and spread all kinds of forged documents on the table, “let’s see what’s prepared for you.”
Mandez explained the escape plan to all the staff. “It’s written by Teresa Harris,” he said with a smile to Mark’s wife, Koala. “You’re ‘Talisa’.” A Canadian passport has her picture on it. “If anyone had called Crew 6 to ask about Tanisa Harris’ whereabouts, they would have been told she went to the Middle East for ‘Argo’ and returned in a week.”
Disguised Identity Over
the weekend, 6 Diplomats have been studying their fabricated personal histories, filling them with fake names and fake addresses on the Iranian border check forms that Taylor gave them. As a result, the American consular officer Robert Anders was transformed into a Canadian Robert Lee Baker, and his position was the location manager. And the koala became the screenwriter Tanisha Harris…
Mandez reminded everyone that it is assumed that the white entry page was taken by the border officers when they entered Iran, so only the yellow subpage was left on the passport. he immediately Burned the entry white pages.
”What if they had to find the original white pages to check our subpages at the airport at departure?” someone asked. “Just play stupid,” Mandez said. “How do you know where the Iranian border inspectors got those white pages?”
Roger Rousey, an assistant to the Canadian ambassador, dressed in Iranian Revolutionary Guard uniforms. Strictly cross-examine these “Canadians” one by one. “Where did you get your visa? When?” he yelled in an Iranian accent. “Mother’s name, father’s birthday, you lied, you’re a spy!”
Several of those who failed the interrogation had to face Lulu again. West, rehearse until the two CIA agents are satisfied.
On Sunday afternoon, Mandez turned his focus to giving them a “facelift.” He dyed Mark LeJack’s yellow beard dark with brow oil, helped Kathleen roll up her long hair, and gave her wide-brimmed glasses.
Many people in Tehran knew Anders, so it was difficult to pretend to be invisible. But when Anders walked into the living room, Mandez couldn’t help laughing, it turned out Anders was wearing it. He wore a blue silk shirt with a wide open neckline and a large gold medallion on his chest. His gray hair was pulled back high, and he looked like a Hollywood playboy. “You’re such a natural actor,” commented Mandez. Escape At 3 am the next
morning, Mandez came to the airport to conduct a reconnaissance, and the Swiss Airlines flight they had booked had arrived.
So they signaled the six U.S. diplomats who were hiding in the car behind. 6 people hurriedly got out with their travel bags. “Get started,” Anders said. Dressed up as a pompous film crew leader with a raincoat over his shoulders, he led the group to the departure hall of the airport. Mandez and Ed followed, watching what was going on around them.
The airport lobby is crowded with Iranians even at the moment. Koala felt suspiciously that these people seemed to be staring at her.
Kathleen looked around, trying to make her move more natural. She was worried about meeting Iranians who had applied to her for U.S. visas while working in the consulate.
Mandez watched Shaaz pass the airline’s counter and customs, and walk down the corridor toward the crucial border control counter.
Shaaz put his passport on the border control counter, and the border officer in Revolutionary Guard uniform examined the passport for a while, then asked coldly, “Is this photo of you?”
”Yes… …of course it’s me,” Shaaz replied a little stammered. The border officer got up and disappeared into the room. “It’s over,” Shaaz’s mind was blurred, “he went to find my white entry page.” After a while, the border officer appeared, waving the open passport in his hand. “The pictures don’t look the same.”
Shaaz tugged at his moustache, explaining that he had trimmed his beard since the photo was taken. The border inspector seemed to believe his statement, stamped an exit stamp on his passport, and threw it on the counter.
When a few others from Mandez and his party came to the counter, the Iranian border inspector walked away again. Finally, he came out again with a cup of tea. Kathleen closed her eyes nervously as he rigorously questioned the family of Iranians ahead of her. Fortunately, perhaps because it took so long and effort to interrogate the Iranian family, the border officer just mechanically stamped Kathleen’s Canadian passport.
Mandez and Ed waited until all six diplomats passed the border check and entered the boarding hall before starting the customs clearance procedures.
Koala was nervous again in the boarding hall. “We are not out of danger.” She looked around vigilantly, thinking about countermeasures. There must be Iranian police around here searching for fugitives. At this time, another diplomat somehow called her real name, and she blushed with fright, and quickly turned her eyes away. “Should be notified to board the plane.” She pondered. The loudspeaker suddenly rang: “Swiss Airlines flight 363 is delayed due to mechanical failure.” Koala thought, could this be a trap?
The delay of the flight made the boarding hall crowded with passengers. Revolutionary Guard soldiers came to the hall and ordered people to show their passports. Koala tried to chat with her husband to make herself look more natural. But he grabbed a newspaper and buried his head. God! Koala found out he was holding an Iranian newspaper, which a Canadian camera crew couldn’t understand.
While waiting for the news of the flight, Mandez watched the soldiers sideways, hoping that they were just searching for gold smugglers… At this time, the “gospel” they were looking forward to came from the loudspeaker: “Take Swiss Airlines flight 363. Passengers please board.”